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Splitting Hairs the Hard Way

July 31, 2008

Are you one of those people who thinks knows they can do it better than anyone else?  I am.  I grew up in a family where our unwritten and unspoken motto was: “If I can’t do it, it can’t be done!

Along these lines, I’m thinking about going back to cutting my own hair.  I used to cut my own hair.  Back when I was living a life of simplicity in SE Portland, I was eating a lot of vegetables and rice, riding my bike to work, and streamlining my life in many ways.

You see, I started doing the math on haircuts.  It took me 15 minutes to go to the barber; I had to wait for 15 minutes to get my haircut; it usually took 15-20 minutes for the stylist/barber/whomever to cut my hair; and then another 15 minutes to go home.  Not only was it costing me $15, but it was taking at least an hour out of my life.  An hour in which I could be doing something productive.  (I don’t know what that was back before the Internet came along?)  On top of that, it was rarely the way I asked them to cut it!

When I got married seven and a half years ago, I quit cutting my own hair.  Out of defference to my wife, who didn’t like all the little stubbly hairs all over the bathroom.  As a bachelor, I didn’t mind those, but I think she had a good point.

Here’s the cunundrum.  I like supporting the local economy.  If I have a choice between the big-box chain, or the mom and pop store down the road, I’ll choose the mom and pop place.  But some of these mom and pop operations do business so poorly, that they really leave no room for choice.  Whenever I go into the local hardware store here in Rainier, I always leave empty-handed.  The owner chuckles and gives me some lame excuse for not having the item I need.

So, I get back in my truck and drive to the nearest Lowe’s or Home Depot.  Even Fred Meyer has more than this local hardware store – and all of them are about 20% cheaper.  I’m learning that trying to save a drive into town to go to the big box store, ends up costing me more time in the end.

When I lived in the suburban no-mans land of Colorado Springs, there were very few non-chain retail options.  I resigned myself to letting the girls (yes, they were not quite women) at Supercuts have a whack at my hair.  I have to admit, they did a great job.  Quick, precise, and with uniform quality.  We go to McDonalds, because we know what we’re going to get.  The same with Starbucks.  It may not be the best, but it is universal across the country.

Upon moving to rural Columbia County, living in a town of 1600 people, I thought I would give the local businesses an opportunity to have my money.  My hair is so easy to cut, and I am so non-picky about it, that I began a search for the $8 barber.

Last month, I walked into a shop in downtown St. Helens.  “$12 dollars,” he says in reply to my query.  Well it’s awfully hard to walk out of a shop when you’re looking the guy in the face.  Besides I really needed a haircut – badly.  Not only was it a bad haircut, but I had to put up with this mindless ranting about stuff I wasn’t even the least bit interested in.

Two days ago, I walked into another little St. Helens barber shop and was told that it would cost me $15.  Sheesh, I can get a haircut at Cost Cutters for $12, $14 with the tip, and I know it’s going to be good.  But of course, I sat down in the chair.  But after I got home, I realized that my sideburns were crooked and it was a bad haircut.  It took me 10 minutes to clean it up myself.

So, I think I’m going to go back to cutting my own hair.  It’s not that hard really.  I’ve been watching people do it for decades.  Plus, it puts $15 dollars back into the local economy.  I’m local aren’t I?

So, I’m supporting the local economy by increasing my amount of disposable income my family has to spend and I’m guaranteed to spend it somewhere!  I’m saving time, I’m saving stress (mine), and I’m saving the world by not driving so much.

I’m really not splitting hairs, this is serious business!  Really! 🙂

One Comment
  1. August 1, 2008 5:06 am

    I started cutting my own hair about 8 months ago and I haven’t looked back. 5 minutes at the sink in the bathroom, another couple for my wife to clean up the back of my head and neck where I can’t reach and I’m done. I was paying $25/month with tip, plus time. I’m happy to have $300 extra a year and 12 hours of my life back.


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